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Making Sense in Plein Air

Oil painting of parked boats at a yacht club

FWB Yacht ClubUgh!  Boats again!  Last week we met at a yacht club, and as much as I love sailing, and water sports of any kind actually, I certainly struggle when we paint boats.  Parked in the middle of a giant circle drive were every kind imaginable of dinghies, sunfish, motorboats, rowboats, sailboats, you name it, in various stages of neglect and disrepair, to one side of the more manicured grounds and view of the docked yachts.  I chose to paint the clutter.  I wisely drew the shapes first, spending some time in what I imagined to be organization of geometric shapes, but that preparation did not keep me from getting lost in my own composition, numerous times.  I was barely halfway done when fellow painter Sandra strolled past with her completed painting, and I asked her if she was going to do another, and she said, “Joan, it’s 11:00, it’s time for critique!”

It’s always a thrill to see what the other painters have managed to do during the same time period.  We all are having essentially the same experience in the same location, but looking at everything from another point of view and with varying media and skill levels, so rarely are any two pictures similar.  I can safely say that no one did anything as hodgepodge as my composition.  I still am trying to make sense of it, even after coming home and finishing it in my studio.  I think the shapes all give the right idea, but I’m not sure if anyone would guess that this actually is not my first painting ever.

Oil painting of parked boats at a yacht club


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